Scheduled Monument: Mounsey Castle and associated outwork 100m to the north (1021357)

Authority Department for Culture, Media and Sport
Other Ref 35975
Date assigned 24 October 1968
Date last amended 03 September 2004
Date revoked
Details The monument, which lies in two separate areas of protection, includes Mounsey Castle, an Iron Age univallate hillfort and an associated outwork, located on a high rocky promontory on the north side of the lower Barle Valley about 3km north west of Dulverton. The layout of the hillfort is defined by the natural contours of the hill which is broadly triangular with a wide, curved base to the south, which gradually narrows to the north. The ground falls steeply away down to the River Barle on the south and west sides and to a valley formed by a tributary of the Barle on the east side. The narrow north side of the hill is defined by a rocky spur across which the associated outwork is situated. An area of approximately 1.75ha is enclosed by a single scarp to the west and east and a rampart to the south which varies throughout its length from between 1.5m and 2m high. On the west and south sides the escarpment is artificially emphasised by an internal scarp which appears to have been quarried to provide material for the rampart. There are two entrances into the site, located on the north east and the south west sides, both of which appear to be original. The north eastern entrance has a slightly out-turned rampart with a berm and short length of bank. The south western entrance is formed by one in-turned, and one slightly out-turned, rampart end which creates an embanked corridor through the defences into the interior of the hillfort. Several stretches of revetment walling are visible in the rampart face along the south side including a length of about 14m, located close to the south western entrance, which is up to 0.8m high and constructed of roughly coursed stone. The defences on the north side are provided by an outwork which is also included in the monument. This is located about 100m to the north, and down-slope of, the hillfort and straddles the steep ridge which forms the narrow, northern rocky spur of the hill. The outwork is about 16m wide and formed by modification of the ridge to form a steep stone-faced scarp with a shallow ditch behind and fronted by a level berm with a scarped bank below, also stone-faced, which extends for about 30m across the ridge. It is strategically placed to defend the entrance on the north side of the hillfort. The foundations of a small stone building are situated within the interior of the hillfort close to the southern rampart bank. The structure is about 3m long and 2m wide with a level platform adjacent to the east side, and has been identified as the remains of a charcoal burner's hut. Several well-preserved charcoal burning platforms have been identified in the area below the south side of the hillfort and it is known that charcoal was used nearby at iron smelting sites during the medieval period. A large quarry scarp, located close to the north eastern entrance, was also recorded in the interior of the hillfort. Mounsey Castle takes its name from the Monceaux family who were local landowners in the medieval period. All fence posts and fencing are excluded from the scheduling. The ground beneath these features is, however, included. Selected Sources Book Reference - Title: National Monument Record - Type: DESC TEXT - Description: SS 82 NE 2 Book Reference - Author: Riley, H - Title: Mounsey Castle and Brewer's Castle:two IA enclosures - Date: 1999 - Type: DESC TEXT - Description: outwork Book Reference - Author: Riley, H & Wilson-North, R - Title: The Field Archaeology of Exmoor - Date: 2001 - Page References: 63-64 - Type: DESC TEXT - Description: Hillforts in the Barle Valley

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Location

Grid reference Centred SS 8855 2961 (195m by 297m)
Map sheet SS82NE
Civil Parish DULVERTON, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

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